Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?

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Absent

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Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« on: August 04, 2016, 05:59:12 PM »
Haya,

I've noticed recently when my general mental health starts to deteriorate one of the first symptoms I experience is ... I'm not sure what it is. I just wonder if other people have experienced this and can relate. If there is a proper term for it or a connection to specific experiences or PDs.

It is as if I lost a mental control over my brain and even if I try to concentrate hard on anything (work for example) in the background of my mind another set of thoughts starts to run. One that plays anxiety-trigger-related scenarios and soon those thoughts overtake my normal train of thought. I don't always immediately realize this over-taking has happened. In time I've learned to shut these down. However these thoughts are so overwhelming that the negative emotion they bring will show on my face and I will enact them with body language. So I end up walking down the street waving my hands as if talking to someone and making faces looking like a crazy person. Or I will realize I'm staring at my monitor at work while arguing with someone in a completely made up situation.

I realize how these thoughts can be seen as the reason why my anxiety goes up and while I admit they feed it and can cause thing to get worst, I've noticed I experience them more when I am going through a ruff patch. I also know different people internalize differently. I'm not sure if the above is just me being preoccupied with myself or it is because I cannot regulate emotions or anything else. My need to label (I know that is not always good but it also give me validation) .... and research is causing me to look into this specific aspect of my mental health. While it doesn't sound severe it causes me a lot of frustration as I cannot concentrate to even do my job properly.

So, any thoughts?

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Three Roses

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2016, 06:11:48 PM »
Does this describe what you experience?  "An Amygdala Hijack is an immediate and overwhelming emotional response out of proportion to the stimulus because it has triggered a more significant emotional threat. The amygdala is the part of our brain that handles emotions. During an Amygdala Hijack, the amygdala 'hijacks' or shuts down the neo-cortex."

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Danaus plexippus

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2016, 06:13:01 PM »
Yeah, sure, I do that all the time, although the meds suppress it a bit.

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Three Roses

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2016, 06:16:00 PM »
Oops! Forgot to welcome you ... welcome! We're glad you are here, Absent!  :wave:

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Absent

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2016, 09:30:19 PM »
Thank you for the welcome Three Roses.

Reading the description in your response that is certainly something I experience quite a lot on a day to day basis. What I am describing is slightly different, in the sense it is not always caused by a real situation. Its as if my mind on its own will play this scenarios for the sake of me feeling this way. And when I catch myself doing that I can stop but then shortly this starts to happen again. Certain things can distract me from this.

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movementforthebetter

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2016, 11:15:44 PM »
Hi Absent, nice to e-meet you. I identify with your post. So. Hard. I have to warn you my post may be triggering for anyone who is dealing with or recovering from addictions. Mods, if my post is deemed inappropriate, please let me know and I will happily edit it.

The best I have been able to describe this to others as is the Inner Critic. But it's more than a critic. It's like there's a soundtrack in my brain with this constant negative chatter that is more like a radio play on an all-talk channel that I don't have control over. It works through scripts, scenarios, conversations and monologues. I think usually it's my voice but I have an active imagination so I can sometimes  hear the voices of others when they are characters in specific scenes. The signal gets much louder when I am under stress. I am not schizophrenic. Does that sound familiar? This is the first time I've really tried to describe it in a lot of detail. Usually I just say "constant negative intrusive thoughts".

I think the chatter has been present ever since childhood. Because it's so ever-present sometimes I don't notice it at all if focused, or can drown it out with music or conversation. But in bad times, it overrides everything else and I have to spend a huge amount of time and energy to try and turn the volume down or interrupt the signal. It's so ever present that it was earth-shattering to me when I noticed it was completely gone, which was only when I did a specific couple of illicit hard drugs over the years. Honestly it was clear, backcountry nighttime silence in my head. I won't mention which ones here. They are not worth it! They made me physically ill and gave me massively depressive emotional hangovers that made me not want to live. And I recognize now that at least one time I probably wasn't far from overdosing - teeth chattering, unable to focus my eyes, and other really unpleasant things. Thankfully alcoholism is what runs in my family so I did not become addicted to drugs and survived my expiriments. (and that's the only time I'm ever thankful for that)

Any other time, the soundtrack runs. Through regular excercise, meditative activities, friendly conversation and keeping busy I can now usually manage the volume to a low-level static. I find it can be loudest when trying to sleep, when stressed, or when faced with particularly tedious tasks that still require focus (data entry type work, or complex problem solving where I have to sit and think before I can dive in). Because I work regularly now at keeping the volume low, it's a bit easier to either push on and ignore it, or at least notice the volume creeping up so I can switch tasks and shift gears for a bit. When exercising or meditating  I don't always try to avoid it, sometimes I listen to see if it's actually relaying anything important and if I can disprove what it's presenting. I had to embrace it as a part of me so that I could manage it.

Let me know if that sounds close to your experience. I haven't talked to many people about it but of the ones I have only one other person could relate. I hope I've related to your situation accurately and that you might find some of what I do useful.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 11:19:12 PM by movementforthebetter »

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movementforthebetter

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2016, 11:22:19 PM »
Another thought, are you familiar with the 4f trauma types from Pete Walker? I just recently identified as being a flight type, and I think the chatter is a huge contributing factor to that.

pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm

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Three Roses

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2016, 11:41:23 PM »
Yes! I relate to this! It's like there is a radio somewhere, and it's loud, and the dial is broken so it's constantly going thru all the stations, a second or two each station, sometimes multiple stations at once! It makes me crazy. The one time I had acupuncture, it subsided some but didn't disappear. Makes it very hard to concentrate!

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Absent

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2016, 10:11:33 AM »
... It's like there's a soundtrack in my brain with this constant negative chatter that is more like a radio play on an all-talk channel that I don't have control over. It works through scripts, scenarios, conversations and monologues.... The signal gets much louder when I am under stress. I am not schizophrenic. Does that sound familiar? ....
...
I find it can be loudest when trying to sleep, when stressed, or when faced with particularly tedious tasks that still require focus (data entry type work, or complex problem solving where I have to sit and think before I can dive in). Because I work regularly now at keeping the volume low, it's a bit easier to either push on and ignore it, or at least notice the volume creeping up so I can switch tasks and shift gears for a bit. When exercising or meditating  I don't always try to avoid it, sometimes I listen to see if it's actually relaying anything important and if I can disprove what it's presenting. I had to embrace it as a part of me so that I could manage it.

Haya,

thank you so much for your reply. I read it the day you posted but was unable to respond as I don't like to write long pots from my phone.

First I want to say I'm sorry it is something you also experience. And yes, I can very much relate to what you are saying. Regarding to drugs I've only ever done alcohol and weed but I am also (very happy about that) unable to get addicted to substances. The latter specifically tends to magnify the sadness in me. It's like a box of chocolates. I never know if I will get a happy one or a sad one. 

All you are saying has made me think about this retrospectively and I think you are right that that this chatter might be part of a normal chatter that goes on in my brain, but as you said it gets worst when I am stressed out and anxious which causes it to turn more negative (and then cause the suggested above Amigdala hijacking). I remember having it even when I was 12 or 13 (not sure if I had it before). I would also experience it if I am overly happy and feeling well. Unfortunately I cannot hide my emotions, they show on my face and in my body language so this chatter pushes trough and overtakes me.
And yes, it's very much like a soundtrack - it has a theme doesn't it? At least I do. It's as if there is nothing in real life to actually trigger my anxiety my brain will just force it on me. 

I never thought to accept this and embrace it. I didn't know if I can do anything about it, but I also didn't give it much thought. I'm very good with suppressing and pushing things a side. If I don't pay attention to thing they eventually disappear (until they appear again). I think I shall try to employ acceptance as a technique with that instead of mentally berating myself for being like that.



Yes! I relate to this! It's like there is a radio somewhere, and it's loud, and the dial is broken so it's constantly going thru all the stations, a second or two each station, sometimes multiple stations at once! It makes me crazy. The one time I had acupuncture, it subsided some but didn't disappear. Makes it very hard to concentrate!

Hi Three roses, Not sure If I ever had multiple station going on at once. It may be that I didn't pay attention. I'm really sorry you experience it like that. It sounds exhausting. Is this experience something that is not talked or looked into by mental health professionals? Or is it just what they call "the inner critique". I also assumed the inner critique is just the things we say to ourselves to push ourselves down, not this kind of chatter that we cannot control.

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Three Roses

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2016, 03:43:36 PM »
My inner critic is a whole other thing. This is just constant background noise, like a TV droning in the background. It's very annoying. Someone once told me it's a symptom or effect of ADHD but now I'm reading that CPTSD can be misdiagnosed as that, so I don't know :(

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SweetFreedom

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2016, 06:00:01 AM »
Sounds like a mix of Hypervigilance, Amygdala Hijacking, & the Outer Critic in a lovely little cascade of state-crashing. Super familiar to me.

Basically, for people who are traumatized, we often experience a low-level 'refrigerator hum' of anxiety in the background. Our amygdala (which recognizes threat in the world) is kind of stuck in the "on" position all the time.

This then becomes manifest as a sort of "hyper-vigilance", where we are constantly scanning our surroundings, or our lives in general, thinking about what possible threats exist around us; we'll even see threats where there are none. We'll misinterpret people as being threats when they're not. A 'threat' in this case doesn't have to be physical; it could be a social threat, or a psychological threat too. Anyone who seems to be 'not right' or 'irritating', etc. We focus on what we don't like, don't trust, and allow it to take up way too much space in our attention.

From there, it quickly escalates to letting our 'Outer Critic' get carried away with nit-picking, judging, character assasinating, etc., as a way to protect ourselves. Usually all this is a pre-emptive way for your brain to know if it needs to use your 4F strategy.

Or it devolves into inner-critic worrying and catastrophizing, dramatizing, and exaggerating issues out of proportion.

As you guys have said above, this is a normal brain function-- the internal narrator-- gone on Over-drive. Super normal for traumatized people. The important thing to notice here is that this is a reaction to a map in your head, not to reality. Everybody has a map of reality in our heads. Our interpretations of the world. And that map is never, ever 100% accurate.

Dysfunction lives by our reacting to the map instead of responding to what's actually happening. The moment we begin to accurately track whats happening and use that as a basis to respond to, we "come back down to earth". The problem you're describing is a problem of the map. Which means that you could use some updating of your map, and to keep making sure your map is accurate before you go responding to it :)

And if you unpack this even deeper, you may find that this is your brain's way of keeping you distracted from what *really* matters, and what real pain may be buried underneath all this. It can be an active form of self-distraction.

This can absolutely turn into a spiral of escalating anxiety and nerves. While not necessarily the end of the world, it's not exactly fun either!

Personally, I find mindfulness meditation to be an absolute MUST to help with this. It may not stop the arguing in your head right away, but it WILL help you with not getting caught up in it, and taking a kind of impartial stance toward it when it happens. Over time, mindfulness is great for helping the amygdala to regulate better and stop doing into overdrive too. For mindfulness, I really like the "headspace" app for iOS & Android. It's free, only takes 10 minutes a day, and is done really well.

It's probably worth reading about Emotional Flashbacks as Pete Walker describes them::

http://pete-walker.com/flashbackManagement.htm

http://www.pete-walker.com/13StepsManageFlashbacks.htm

Although it's not said explicitly, it's been my experience that Emotional Flashbacks often happen more when I'm stressed and you can probably consider them, and the 4F response that follows, a form of Stress Response.




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Absent

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2016, 07:46:53 PM »
SweetFreedom very detailed and I think correct reply. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply and for the suggested sources. I'm looking into the app for the mindfulness meditation and the emotional flashbacks links. Emotional flashbacks is a term that is fairly new to me and I stumbled upon it when trying to figure out what was happening in my life (yet again). As I am not diagnosed, for years I've tried to avoid self-diagnosing and defining myself as someone with (c)ptsd. It seems with each depressed episode I learn something new and gain new perspectives. I think I am finally at a place where I can allow myself to say "I was abused, I'm traumatized, time didn't heal sh*t as I was hoping". 

And if you unpack this even deeper, you may find that this is your brain's way of keeping you distracted from what *really* matters, and what real pain may be buried underneath all this. It can be an active form of self-distraction.

I am the master of distraction. I think the only times when I loose control of that is when I am highly stressed or having a depressed episode. When I am "okay" I just have the energy to avoid all the things that need avoiding. For me the described state of thought hijacking was always a symptom that I am getting worst. But I never considered if my mind is trying to distract me from the pain. I always assumed it is a reflection of it.

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Absent

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2016, 09:24:10 PM »
I'm not sure if anyone is reading this or interested in the topic but today I had a few more thoughts on this so I am just going to write it here. More for myself.

I realized the main theme in my overwhelming thoughts is me justifying what I am feeling, my actions or lack of, my decisions. In a sick way it is as if I am replaying my relationship with my abusive parent (my mom). And it is as if my brain is trying to prepare me for any possible situation that may rise. A constant battle ready (or the 4Fs) state. No wonder I've been so exhausted lately.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2016, 03:10:41 AM »
i've done this justifying as well.  also, i have non-existent conversations with people with whom i think i'm going to have to see, like i'm preparing my speech for the jury, something that will be accepted, understood, and ultimately ruled in my favor.  i spend lots of time collecting and reviewing evidence in my mind of things that i have seen, heard, witnessed somehow to buoy up my 'argument'.  of course, these conversations never seem to take place, or, if i'm actually confronted with said person, the conversation goes in a different direction.

all these mind 'games' are exhausting, indeed!

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Contessa

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Re: Overtaken/controlled by thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2016, 12:44:12 AM »
Most of this sounds familiar to me too. It is not very healthy, but on a less intense scale, surely its not so bad? I always thought it a means for emotionally preparing for a future social interaction. But on the other hand, if it is being run over and over...